A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, occurs when your immune system overreacts to a harmless substance and attacks it. Typical allergic reactions only occur in one part of the body. For example, seasonal allergies tend to affect your nose and eyes. Anaphylaxis is different. It causes a reaction that involves your whole body. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency because it can be fatal without treatment.
If you or someone you are with has a severe allergic reaction in Sacramento or the surrounding areas, it’s important to call 911 or visit your nearest Dignity Health emergency room as soon as possible. You can use our online waiting service, InQuicker™, to select your estimated arrival time at one of our six state-of-the art emergency departments.
Causes & Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction
Anaphylaxis is the result of your body reacting to a substance, called an allergen. An allergen is anything that triggers your immune system to react. Some people are born with a genetic predisposition to being hypersensitive to certain allergens.
The most common allergens that trigger anaphylaxis include:
- Foods, such as cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, soy, and wheat
- Medications, such as penicillin and other antibiotics
- Insect stings, including bees, hornets, wasps, and fire ants
Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Rapid pulse
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of consciousness can also occur. Some people describe feeling strange or having a feeling that something bad is about to happen.
Dial 911 for immediate medical care for symptoms of anaphylaxis.
Treating & Preventing a Severe Allergic Reaction with Dignity Health
Treatment and prevention plans are the same no matter what type of allergen causes anaphylaxis. Avoiding any exposure to the allergen will prevent a severe allergic reaction, but this is not always possible. Your Dignity Health doctor will prescribe an epinephrine autoinjector to use if an exposure occurs. It will help control symptoms until you can get medical help.
You should always carry the autoinjector with you and know how to use it. Family members and caretakers should also be familiar with using your autoinjector. Children should have an anaphylaxis action plan on file with schools, camps, and other places that are responsible for their care.
It’s still important to find emergency medical care after you use the autoinjector. The team at Dignity Health is ready to provide exceptional care for your allergic reaction. Dignity Health providesemergency care for a severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas.